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If you want to gain muscle mass, start by putting these foods on your plate.
IF BUILDING MUSCLE WAS EASY, we would see muscular people on every street corner. But the road to building lean mass is full of obstacles and unforeseen events, especially as regards nutrition.
Although you probably know the basic principles of a bodybuilding diet, we have compiled a list that includes some undervalued basic foods and some new foods (never heard of algae?) That will help you build muscle, dividing them into three categories.
Each category fits onto the previous one, ensuring you get the most out of what each food has to offer. The first category focuses on important choices regarding macronutrients; the second category focuses on muscle duration and recovery; the third category presents foods that have specific and particular effects on the metabolism.
The foods in this category focus on supplying the body with adequate macronutrients. Protein is essential for muscle repair and growth. Healthy fats are needed for hormonal production, which is related to muscle growth and Clenbuterol on california-muscles.
Carbohydrates provide energy for intense training and to prevent the body from breaking down muscle proteins to produce fuel. Along with adequate amounts of animal protein (chicken, fish, turkey and lean cuts of beef), here are the basic foods on which you should build the rest of your diet.
Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin C, contain 25% of the RDA of potassium and are exceptional sources of prolonged energy. Furthermore, thanks to their intake of vitamin B6, they accelerate the metabolism of amino acids and proteins.
This means that muscles get more and faster than they need to grow. This versatile tuber supports both gym work and subsequent recovery.
TIP: To maximize the nutritional value, also eat the peel.
Low in fat and high in protein, this almost perfect soft fresh cheese for muscle building is composed largely of casein, a slow-digesting protein that supplies the muscles with the amino acids necessary for hypertrophy and recovery. Eat it before going to bed to feed your muscles overnight.
TIP: Prepare a quick snack by mixing it with nutrient-rich foods such as pineapple, tomato, avocado.
Bringing more leucine than many other protein sources, eggs are an indispensable part of a bodybuilder’s diet. Its rather rapid digestion pumps amino acids into the blood very quickly.
Eggs make you feel full and bring a large dose of iron, vitamin A and calcium, as well as all the essential amino acids.
TIP: Know that eggs from free-range hens are different from organic eggs, which are laid by hens that do not take hormones, antibiotics or pesticides. The protein content is the same for all eggs.
The type of polyphenols — substances naturally present in vegetables — present in apples has a special affinity for muscles. A study found that apple polyphenols increase the density of muscle fibers.
Another study, performed at the University of Iowa, indicates that a substance found in apple peel, called ursolic acid, increases the activity of hormones that build muscle.
TIP: Eat an apple before training and you will have enough energy to complete it, thanks to this fruit rich in fiber and slow-digesting carbohydrates.
Rich in protein, fiber and vitamins A, C, B and K, black beans are one of the best sources of plant nutrients for muscle building. A 2003 study found that they are rich in antioxidant flavonoids that protect against cancer, heart disease, and premature aging.
TIP: Canned beans have the same nutritional profile as home-cooked beans, but they are more comfortable.
Excellent sources of vitamin B complex, vitamin K and C and potassium, the healthy fibers and fats of avocado provide energy for training, antioxidants for recovery and growth and monounsaturated fatty acids for optimal hormonal production.
TIP: Add it to scrambled eggs and salads or use it for sandwiches instead of sauces with mayonnaise and oil.
The foods in this category are quite common yet often underestimated because of their unusual flavor and consistency.
They provide the muscles with nutrients and natural substances that accelerate recovery and reduce inflammation and soreness, so you can go back to the gym earlier and train harder.
An excellent choice to support your efforts in the gym, Greek yogurt is a protein bomb, with twice the amount of macronutrients found in normal yogurt.
Like the junket, it is rich in casein, making it the right choice when the muscles need a lot of protein for an extended period. Probiotics found in Greek yogurt (and most brands contain more than one strain) can improve digestion and nutrient absorption and reduce gastrointestinal inflammation.
TIP: Prefer the natural, unflavoured versions, because they do not contain added sugars.
Often mistakenly considered a cereal, in reality, quinoa is a herbaceous plant whose seed brings a lot of energy and nutrients. Providing a complete protein, this alternative to rice contains lysine, an important amino acid rather rare in plant sources that plays an important role in muscle growth and repair.
Vitamin B2 and manganese present in quinoa assist cellular metabolism and offer protection from free radicals. Dietary benefits of quinoa have made it very popular.
TIP: Add it to the porridge or pancake dough; put it in the salad or mix it with the minced beef.
A single cup of lentils provides 18 g of protein and 16 g of fiber. An alternative to starchy side dishes such as rice or corn, lentils provide muscles with slow-digesting carbohydrates and many amino acids for intense training.
Lentils are also an important source of iron and B vitamins.
TIP: There are three main types of lentils: red, green and brown. When you have limited time, opt for the red ones, because they cook faster.
Some of the benefits for muscle building of these leafy vegetables are well known, but perhaps you don’t know that spinach contains a phytochemical called 20-beta-ecdysterone which increases protein synthesis.
Spinach also contains lots of antioxidants and iron which help muscles, growth, and recovery. They are also rich in nitrates, which improve mitochondrial efficiency during physical activity.
TIP: Raw spinach bring more vitamin C and folate, while cooked bring more vitamin K, A, B6, and riboflavin.
Compared to beef, buffalo meat brings more protein and amino acids and less fat, as well as a higher concentration of iron and some fatty acids.
In many studies, buffalo meat has proven to be a superior source of protein for bodybuilders thanks to its important nutrients: iron for the production of red blood cells, zinc for muscle growth, vitamin B12 for metabolism and conjugated linoleic acid to increase the insulin sensitivity and improve body composition.
ADVICE: On the stove, cook this meat over medium-low heat and, on the grill, cook it with blood or a little more.
Often considered a superfood, spirulina is an edible microalgae that provides complete proteins. Facilitates growth thanks to its proteins and minerals, phytonutrients and vitamins.
Its unique nutritional profile can facilitate the containment of inflammation, it can strengthen the immune system, stabilize blood sugar and delay the appearance of fatigue during training.
Spirulina may be the most potent superfood you have eaten.
TIP: Choose organic spirulina without additives or excipients. Add it to a smoothie, to porridge, to anything that can be mixed.
By joining the two previous categories, this last section presents the last group of foods that you should include in your food arsenal.
These foods have a somewhat esoteric nature: some bring precious nutrients that are rarely found together with such abundance; others, on the other hand, are very specific in their properties for muscle building and beneficial effects for the body.
A 2009 study published in the journal Nutrition highlighted the anti-catabolic effects of this spice, stating that curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) can increase the recovery of damaged muscle tissues.
Turmeric is also a potent antioxidant, supports fat metabolism, acts as an anti-inflammatory and helps reduce the risk of many types of cancer.
TIP: Put some on the grilled meat. A study conducted at Kansas State University found that seasoning meat with turmeric reduces heterocyclic amines (carcinogenic chemicals that form in food cooked at high temperatures) by 40%.
Hemp seeds bring complete proteins and are an important source of chlorophyll and fiber and contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Whole hemp seeds contain albumin and edestin (two proteins, the second only found in hemp seeds) that quickly enter hungry muscles.
Hemp seeds also contain minerals, especially zinc for the immune system and phosphorus and magnesium for bone health.
TIP: Add the hemp seeds to the Greek yogurt, spread them on the salad or put them in a mid-day protein shake.
It is amazing that microalgae can bring so many benefits even in small doses. Chlorella is rich in protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Chlorella contains the highest chlorophyll level of any other plant.
Chlorophyll improves the oxygen concentration in the body and accelerates the repair and growth of tissues. This single-celled food also increases DNA and RNA concentrations, both known for promoting healthy cell growth and slowing down the aging process.
There are more Japanese people who eat chlorella than North Americans who take vitamin C.
ADVICE: Follow the instructions on the packaging of the product you purchase, because to date there are no guidelines for the consumption of chlorella.
Beetroot juice contains vitamin C, iron, potassium and copper and increases the duration and potency produced. Do you want more pumping? Beets are among the most important sources of the same nitrates present in spinach that bring benefits to mitochondria.
A study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology has shown an increase in protein synthesis in skeletal muscles thanks to the integration with betaine, a substance first discovered in beet sugar. The detoxifying effect is also important: eating beetroot has been shown to improve kidney function.
TIP: Due to their greater bioavailability, eat beets and drink beetroot juice instead of taking supplements whenever possible. Roasted beets have a sweetness very suitable for green salads.
This gluten-free seed, a relative of rhubarb, contains all eight essential amino acids. Its antioxidants strengthen the immune system. Its fibers improve digestion and hunger management.
A substance called d-chiro-inositol (a natural metabolite that is part of the B vitamin family) regulates blood sugar, improving insulin sensitivity.
Many studies have shown that buckwheat slows sarcopenia, the natural decline in strength and muscle mass related to aging.
TIP: You can cook this versatile food like a cereal, you can eat it like a porridge, grind it to make healthy pancakes, or add it to sandwiches and salads.
A study published in the British Medical Journal states that cocoa intake increases nitrogen oxide production, while another study has confirmed that
its high flavanol content is responsible for these effects.
Vasodilatation is the result of an increase in nitrogen oxide stimulated by flavanols, which transport more oxygen to the muscles, thus increasing pumping
A third study found that a specific phenol, called epicatechin, facilitates the fight against muscle loss. In addition, the high antioxidant content of cocoa reduces inflammation and increases insulin sensitivity.
TIP: Add low-fat cocoa to protein shakes, porridge, and homemade pancakes.
A study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that goji berries increase concentration and mental acuity, improve sleep quality, energy and athletic performance.
This small fruit has very high levels of antioxidants, amino acids, and potassium, with the latter two facilitating muscle building. They also contain fatty acids for optimizing the body’s enzymatic and hormonal functions.
Some data indicate that goji berries support muscle growth thanks to the combination of amino acids and potassium, which keeps the pituitary healthy and stimulates it to produce more HGH.
Goji berries promote mental concentration during intense weight training.